A new era is a
turnaround for Liverpool!
Photographs and video by
LIVERPOOL has again started
a new chapter in its maritime history, as it re-launched as a
turnaround cruise destination. The well loved luxury liner, formally
known as the Cunard Countess, now the Ocean Countess, was back in
Liverpool on Tuesday, 29 May 2012, as she took centre stage,
becoming the first cruise liner to take on passengers for the start
of a cruise in the River Mersey, after a staggering 40 year gap.
the day the newly elected Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson who led a
2 year campaign to get the cruises to start and finish in the city
said:- "This is the dawn of a new era for Liverpool’s cruise
industry. I have fought hard for turnaround status for our city,
because I know how important it is; for our economy, for our tourism
offer and for our unrivalled reputation as a major maritime city.
I'm so delighted that the hard work has paid off and the momentous
day when Liverpool welcomes its first turnaround cruise is finally
here. The arrival of Ocean Countess is a symbol of Liverpool’s
renaissance as a major cruise port. We can now look forward to a
brighter, stronger, more prosperous future for our cruise industry.
It will create and sustain many jobs and make Liverpool the
preferred choice for thousands from all over the world. It’s a
fantastic day for our city."
To mark this historic
departure, 17,593 grt, 541ft vessel was given a fantastic civic
send-off, under an amazing blue sky and in calm waters. Just before
the Cruise and Maritime Voyages’ Ocean Countess sailed off on the
scheduled 8 night Diamond Jubilee cruise to the Scottish Highlands &
Islands, the Liner Terminal turned into a stage. But even before
that, passengers had been greeted by Liverpool’s Town Crier, Terry
Plus inside the terminal they got treated to live music
by a local Ukulele band! But the highlight for many would have been,
an amazing performance by opera singer Danielle Thomas was delivered
against the background of ringing of church bells. But just to add
to the occasion and to complete the event confetti cannons where
used to deluging the landing stage with red white and blue confetti.
But the honour of the "scattered silver coins"
ceremony, an accent ritual of wishing the vessel and all who sail on
her well, went to Countess of Derby. She also delivered a fantastic
speech alongside Her namesake liner on the landing stage.
before the passengers boarded we joined a select few members of the
press, business community and council onboard Ocean Countess to take
a look around and also to have lunch and sample the atmosphere
that the passengers where soon to enjoy. We have to say that we
found Her very impressive and the food and drink was on par with
what Cunard offered on the QE2, if not better.
Liverpool was the
birthplace of the cruise liner industry, despite some ports clams
in resent years, but it was fantastic to see this historic re-birth
after years of decline.
Chris Coates, Commercial Director, Cruise &
Maritime Voyages (CMV) said:- "Cruise & Maritime Voyages are
delighted to be the first cruise operator sailing from Pier Head. We
are firmly committed to developing our business on Merseyside and
the wider North West region."
We would like to thank both
Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV)'s Operations Director, Richard
Barstow and Commercial Director Chris Coates, for not only
entertaining us all on the day, but also for showing Liverpool its
commitment to the City and also supporting our heritage. Thanks to
them and a few other operators, Liverpool can once again enjoy its
Also keep an eye on the web, as a new
website is also being
launched. Set up by Culture Liverpool, in partnership with Liverpool
Vision, it will provide a range of information about cruises to and
from Liverpool, highlighting the City’s attractions and tourism
Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture and
Tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- "A city like
Liverpool, with its proud maritime heritage, deserves to be a major
cruise destination, so it's absolutely wonderful to see this
becoming a reality. Liverpool is so much more than a port of call or
a 1 night stop over, it is a place which demands to be explored and
discovered. Turnaround facilities means thousands of cruise tourists
can spend longer in our city, and fully experience all that we have
to offer. And there’s so much to experience. Liverpool is a city
like no other, and passengers on-board the Ocean Countess who
witness our civic ceremony will see that this is a city that likes
to do things differently. It’s this uniqueness which we believe will
keep cruise tourists coming back to our city again and again."
Sadly for owners of the Cruise & Maritime Voyages, some of the party
atmosphere was lost that night, following an overnight electrical
fault onboard Ocean Countess. The fault resulted in the loss of main
engine power for 3 hours, so the ship had to be diverted to the port
of Holyhead in Anglesey, as a precautionary measure. Full power and
services was then restored.
Richard Bastow, Operations Director of
Cruise & Maritime Voyages commented:- "The safety and comfort
of our passengers is our main priority and we are really sorry for
this disruption to the start of their cruising holiday."
after seeing what we did on-board, we do not think passengers would
be to disappointed by that slight disruption. We truly speak for
many of the region when we say:- "Good luck to Cruise &
Maritime Voyages and we look forward to seeing them back in the
Mersey later this year!"
Please enjoy our video highlights
and also our photograpic coverage of this historic inauguration day.
and Maritime Voyages' Ocean Countess Stats
Stabilised and air conditioned
Officers & Crew
Cruise Staff & Entertainers
||British & International
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Did you know??? CMV has now
launched its new 2013 Preview Brochure and next year will be the
company's 4th year of operating cruises from Liverpool since their
launch in 2009? The Ex UK cruise specialist operates the 2 classic
and traditional style ships Ocean Countess and Marco Polo. Both
ships are highly rated on independent websites and this year
were nominated for a number of top awards.
The company is established as
a major player in the UK cruise business and since its formation in
2009, expects to have carried more than 120,000, mainly British
cruise passengers, by the end of summer. The new programme features the 2 CMV cruise ships Marco Polo and the
Ocean Countess, each carrying up to 800 passengers. They are offering
a choice of 60 cruising holidays sailing from:- London Tilbury,
Hull, Newcastle, Edinburgh Leith, Liverpool and Bristol Avonmouth.
The public are also being encouraged to book early, by 31 July 2012,
to secure the cabin of their choice, with a saving of up to 25% on
published full fares. Prices on early bookings will also be fully
guaranteed against surcharge. In addition FREE port parking and a
complimentary 'Bon Voyage Cabin Pack' which includes wine,
chocolates and a fruit selection will be offered for bookings made
by the end of the Jubilee holiday weekend.
Chris Coates said:-
"Our research, based on customer satisfaction questionnaires,
shows that 95% of our passengers rated the enjoyment of their CMV
cruise experience as excellent or good. Our feedback also shows that
convenient departure ports and interesting itineraries coupled with
top quality service, delicious food and outstanding entertainment
are our recipe for success. For 2013 we will continue to provide a
traditional maritime experience for our guests. We will be exploring
new horizons in addition to our perennial favourites and taking our
passengers to many of the places not always accessible by the larger
You can visit:-
cruiseandmaritime.tv for more
details of their new programme and also did you know you can also
take a look closer look still via their main
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